Senator Richard Blumenthal announced Tuesday that he is sponsoring a bill that would present a Hispanic infantry unit with the Congressional Gold Medal.
The 65th Infantry Regiment, which was composed entirely of soldiers from Puerto Rico, was the last segregated military unit in the United States.
The regiment was established shortly after United States acquisition of Puerto Rico in 1898. Members of the unit, known as “Borinqueneers,” are said to have played a large role in World War I, World War II, and the Korean War.
Blumenthal says the Medal would recognize the Borinqueneers’ important role in U.S. history, as well as honor them for their commitment to service.
“The Borinqueneers are part of a proud tradition of military service that includes the Tuskegee Airmen, the Montford Point Marines, the Navajo Code Talkers, and the Japanese American 442nd Regimental Combat Team,” Blumenthal said.
“All of these units have rightly earned the Congressional Gold Medal for their service and sacrifice in the face of injustice, and the Borinqueneers should be awarded this high honor as well.”
Blumenthal’s bill mirrors an earlier House bill presented by Congressman Bill Posey of Florida and Congressman Pedro Pierluisi of Puerto Rico. As of Tuesday, the House bill has the support of 43 cosponsors.
Blumenthal’s legislation has gained the support of 7 other senators from across the country.